If you’re like me, you’re a people-pleaser. You’d rather avoid disappointing someone, so you say yes to more than you should. You’re afraid someone might think you’re not a good friend, employee, sister, aunt, yoga teacher, etc. if you say no. The reality is, you can’t be everything to everyone. And if you think you can. you’re probably not truly ‘being there’ for anyone, especially yourself.
A while ago, I had a conversation with a friend about a situation in which I felt guilty for saying no. I decided to put myself first for once, and said no to substituting a yoga class. The person who asked gave me some “not-so-subtle” non-verbal cues to let me know of their disappointment. I found myself trying to justify my decision, when in reality it was the other person’s issue, not mine. They were upset that they’d be inconvenienced, and yet I somehow took on the responsibility and the guilt (my issue). WRONG.
What my friend said to me when I told her the story was, “No, is a complete sentence.” It was so simple, and it made me start to think about how many times I’ve felt incredibly guilty for saying no or putting myself first. How many times did I rehearse a conversation in my head or replay one to see how I could say no with the least amount of hurt feelings? There were a lot.
So, how do we walk the line of being charitable and giving of ourselves without depleting our energy? What I’ve found out is that the people in your life who really care about you, don’t love you because what you can do for them. They just love you. The art of saying no will also reveal who really is in it just for them. Saying no recently led me to lose someone as a friend which tells me they weren’t really much of a friend at all.
In yoga, bramacharya is often — mistakenly — thought of as ‘chastity’ or a preservation of one’s sexual energy. But it’s really about moderating all of our energetic resources; allocating them consciously.
Many of us need to learn to conserve our personal energy as much as we try to conserve the electricity in hour homes. When we do, our personal energetic battery has a chance to recharge. Then we truly CAN be there for others in a deliberate, complete, loving way. When you are at your most joyous and fulfilled, you will bring that light to everyone you meet.
– Your Charmed Yogi
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